Every professor of literature must eventually write a post on Shakespeare, so this is mine. A friend left teaching because he was tired of explaining things to people. I do not at all mind explaining things to students, but I am definitely tired of explaining things to faculty.
One of the things I routinely explain – I am tired of explaining it – is that García Márquez is far from the only modern Spanish American novelist, and that he did not learn everything he knows from Faulkner. No, he has read many other books, some of them in Spanish, and a serious graduate student would recognize that many of these books are in fact intertexts of García Márquez’ work. They might actually want to be aware of this, I intone, before venturing into the broad world as a García Márquez scholar.
There are those who believe me on this issue, but they are a minority. Now I have confused everyone by, Marxist anti-colonial feminist that I am, defending Shakespeare to the postmodernists, theorists, Cultural Studies experts, folklorists, and devotees of paraliterary genres by claiming that Shakespeare was theoretically agile, varied like a postmodern corpus (after all, it is unclear whether he was actually the author of his texts), and heavily engaged with the folk, popular and mass cultures of his time.
I further suggested that modern Shakespearean scholars are unlikely to feel threatened by “canon revision” and may in fact be quite interested in it. I also implied that Shakespeareans were not necessarily conservatives, although I would not have a problem with hiring one who was.
I disoriented everyone by not appearing to be in a camp on this issue, and especially, I think, by saying I would be open to hiring a conservative. I think I clearly am in a camp – the camp which believes in preserving a modicum of historical accuracy. Thus I am not postmodern, or at least, I am not a vulgar postmodern (now, had I said that, I would have actually made them mad).
I am behind the times, over thirty and not to be trusted, but I have a strong suspicion I am right on the nature of Shakespeare and Shakespeareans, although I barely read either of them, I am sorry to say. What do you think? Am I becoming a terrible pedant?